Bohannon scores 17 as Jok-less Iowa crushes Rutgers
By TOM CANAVAN
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Iowa is doing just fine with Big Ten Conference leading-scorer Peter Jok sidelined with a back problem.
The Hawkeyes not only won their second in a row with Jok out, they also picked up their first road win of the season with an 83-63 decision over Rutgers on Tuesday night.
Jordan Bohannon scored 17 points and Iowa (13-10, 5-5) took command early in posting its biggest win in a conference games this season.
"The main thing is we are just staying confident in each other, moving without the ball and finding shooters," said Bohannon, who was 5 of 7 from 3-point range on a night the Hawkeyes shot a season-high 61 percent (11 of 18) from long range.
Iowa beat Ohio State in its first game without Jok and it used the same formula to run away from Rutgers. It got going early and never stopped, leading by as many as 28 points.
"We have been struggling on the road with our starts," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "But the truth is, we have been inconsistent on the road and not just at the start. Today was the most cohesive and consistent effort that we have had this year (on the road)."
Iowa, which had lost its first five games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena, opened a double-digit lead in the opening five minutes.
"It's nice to get that first road win going, and get things going off the bat," Bohannon said. "We just have to keep working and get ready for Nebraska."
Cordell Pemsl added 15 points for the Hawkeyes, who shot 50 percent from the field. Iowa missed five of its first seven shots and then made nine of its next 10 in opening a 29-8 lead.
The 20-point margin of victory was the biggest for Iowa in a conference game this season and it gave coach Fran McCaffery a chance to rest most of his starters in the second half.
Iowa, which had won a neutral site game earlier this season, jumped to a 17-4 lead in the opening 5:20. Tyler Cook led the early run with seven points and Bohannon had five.
"Flawless," McCaffery said of Bohannon's game. "He was spectacular. He ran the offense, no turnovers, loaded people up, made shots when he was open. He's terrific."
Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said his team wasn't ready to play.
"We need everybody to play hard," Pikiell said. "We're not the toughest team in the world, as you saw today, and we really need to get better. That was not how I want people to think of Rutgers basketball and not the way we've been playing all season long. We have to get back to practice and make some changes."
Iowa, which was riding a three-game losing streak, has stepped up and beaten Ohio State and Rutgers with the conference's leading scorer sidelined. The Hawkeyes hope to have Jok back this weekend.
After decent efforts against Maryland and Wisconsin, Rutgers showed its inconsistency by failing to be competitive against a team missing its best player.
STAT OF THE GAME
Rutgers missed its first eight shots in a 23-second span on its opening possession of the second half. Williams missed four attempts, center C.J. Gettys two and Freeman and Eugene Omoruyi one. Williams had three offensive rebounds and Gettys two.
QUOTE OF GAME:
McCaffery laughed when asked if Jok might become the Wally Pipp of Iowa after the Hawkeyes won two without him.
"No! He'll be in the starting lineup on Sunday," McCaffery said.
Pipp lost his job as the New York Yankees first baseman after getting sick for a game and being replaced by Lou Gerhig.
Iowa returns home to play Nebraska Sunday.
Rutgers is at Penn State Saturday.
Updated January 31, 2017